Christianity 201

April 7, 2014

What Glory Looks Like

Ruth Boven serves as minister of pastoral care at Neland Avenue Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, MI.  She writes today in the devotional booklet Today (I don’t get to write that sentence often) about What Glory Looks Like. You can follow this series each day at this link. (There isn’t an archive page link, but Ruth will be writing this series throughout April. This one is from April 7th)

John 13:31When he was gone, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in him.32If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once.

33“My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come.

Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines glory as great “praise, honor, or distinction.” Christians use the word glory often, especially in worship. In the church I serve, we sometimes sing these words: “We will glorify the King of kings. We will glorify the Lamb. We will glorify the Lord of lords, who is the great I AM.” Giving glory to God lifts our hearts upward toward the reigning King. We praise him for his greatness, power, and majesty.

But Jesus gives us another angle on glory in our text today. Remember that Jesus is on the brink of his brutal march to the cross. “Now the Son of Man is glorified,” he said. Jesus’ glory is first of all about the fulfillment of his Father’s purposes. Jesus’ obedience to his Father’s plan would be his glory, even though it meant suffering and death on a cross. Jesus showed us that glory comes through sacrificial love and obedience to God.

How do you and I think about glory? Our world would like us to think glory comes through achievement and status. Sacrificial obedience to someone else’s plan would not seem to be the path to glory. But, truly, that’s what it takes. Our submission and obedience to God’s loving plan for this world is the only achievement worthy of praise, honor, and distinction.

To God be the glory!

God of glory, help us to realize that glory comes through sacrificial obedience to your loving plan for this world. Through Jesus we pray. Amen.


Elsewhere on the web:

At the blog of New Hope Bible Church in Kenab, Utah:

…Ex. 15:11 speaks of God’s Glory: “Who is like you–majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders? Listen to the definition of  “glory” (“doxa” GR): “opinion, estimate, a good opinion concerning one, resulting in praise, honour, splendour, brightness, magnificence, excellence, preeminence, dignity, grace, majesty, a thing belonging to God, the kingly majesty which belongs to him as supreme ruler, absolute perfection, the absolutely perfect inward or personal excellency of Christ.”

From Watnal Road Baptist Church in the UK:

…Now, all of this might seem a bit strange until we realise that in John’s gospel Jesus’ glorification is in the cross. Judas’ departure means that Jesus’ betrayal has come that much closer. So Jesus, the Son of Man, is being glorified by the Father in his coming death. Jesus can thus speak of both betrayal and death as the means by which we are to understand his love. Complicating things for the disciples is that where Jesus is about to go they cannot come with him, though unlike the times when Jesus said this to the Jews in [John] 7:34 and 8:21 this is not a word of judgement where they will die in their sin. It is a simple fact that Jesus’ impending death means they cannot follow him…

Finally, from the blog A Dollar Three Eighty:

[The previous] passage ended on the poignant note “And it was night.”

…But Jesus is talking GLORY! Glory – the polar opposite of night if you ask me. Think radiance – you know not just sunglasses bright but warm, shiny golden stuff, brilliance… well, LIGHT…

The real meaning of this word “glorified” is to make renowned, render illustrious, i.e. to cause the dignity and worth of some person or thing to become manifest and acknowledged. It’s a version of the word not found in secular writings (Thayer’s Greek Lexicon).

What is happening, Jesus is telling them, is His mission is on track, in motion and headed for victory. He is the Light and if there was any confusion about God or what He’s about – well, it’s out in the open now!